James Conforti and Domingo Medina - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by James Conforti and Domingo Medina on 4/19/2018

You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.

If you want to buy a home but donít have a large down payment saved, odds are youíve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you donít have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.

However, if you want to buy a home and donít want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In todayís post, Iím going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.

PMI Basics

Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, letís spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.

PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.

Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and youíll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.

Getting PMI waived early

With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once youíve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.

With an FHA loan, youíll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you donít make a down payment of 10% or more. Thatís a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.

If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.

Making it to the 20% repayment mark

On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.

This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you donít want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.

Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, youíll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.





Posted by James Conforti and Domingo Medina on 3/22/2018

Whether you're looking for your first house, a vacation home, or a retirement condo, there's always an element of excitement in finding a new place you can call your own!

Although buying and selling real estate can be stressful, especially if you've never done it before, being prepared and knowing what to expect can help keep things on an even keel.

Similar to planning a vacation or a cross-country trip, you'll want to avoid missed connections, frustrating delays, and wasted time. When it comes to buying a home, a little research, planning, and expert advice can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth journey. Here are a few specifics:

Check your credit score: Your credit rating has a major impact on your ability to successfully apply for a mortgage and be offered a relatively low interest rate. Knowing your credit rating can help you understand your options, avoid unexpected surprises, and take action to correct errors in your credit report or improve your credit profile.

Prepare a wish list: One of the keys to getting what you want in a new home is to clarify and prioritize the features that matter the most to you. Your checklist can include everything from lot size and architectural style to the reputation of the school district and proximity to stores. Some house hunters also place a high value on features like a fireplace, screened-in porch, and an open floor plan.

Find a good real estate agent: A buyers' agent can provide you with an immense amount of help in finding properties for sale that meet your specifications. They can also provide assistance, advice, and guidance on the many steps involved in going from loan applicant to new home owner. An experienced agent can also negotiate the best possible deal, in terms of price, seller concessions, and other advantages.

Meet with mortgage lenders: A crucial step in preparing to become a homeowner is understanding the mortgage application process, knowing how much banks would be willing to lend you, and determining an affordable price range. Meeting with lenders is also the first step to comparing interest rates and choosing a financial institution that would best suit your needs. Here's a helpful tip from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: "Getting a preapproval letter helps you show sellers that you are a serious buyer Ė but it doesnít commit you to a lender."

When it comes to searching for and buying a house, probably the best advice anyone could give you is "stay the course!" Let's face it: It's easy to give up, get discouraged, or settle for a home that's less than what you really want. However, when you adopt a "stay the course" mindset, you'll do a better job of staying motivated, focused, and well organized until you find just the right home for you, your family, and your future!





Posted by James Conforti and Domingo Medina on 3/15/2018

Tired of renting an apartment? Buy a house, and you can reap the benefits of homeownership for years to come.

Ultimately, there are many wonderful reasons to start a search for your dream home today, including:

1. You can enjoy the freedom of owning your own residence.

Let's face it Ė nothing beats the freedom of owning your own residence, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

If you launch a search for your own house, you can find a residence that matches your personality and budget. Plus, you can always decorate and customize your house however you choose. And if you complete myriad home upgrades or maintenance, you may be able to boost your house's value Ė something that may prove to be important if you eventually decide to sell your residence.

2. You can capitalize on various tax benefits.

Believe it or not, buying a house may enable you to reap myriad tax benefits.

The U.S. Tax Code allows homeowners to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage and property taxes. Also, if you study the U.S. Tax Code closely, you may find that you can deduct some of the costs involved in a home purchase.

3. You can pay predictable housing costs for a set period of time.

With a fixed-rate mortgage in hand, you can pay the same amount each month for the duration of your mortgage. This means you won't have to worry about fluctuating housing costs; instead, you'll pay the same total each month Ė without exception.

Of course, homebuyers who choose an adjustable-rate mortgage can enjoy fixed housing costs for a set amount of time too. On the other hand, those who select an adjustable-rate mortgage likely will need to plan ahead for a potential increase in mortgage costs after three, five, seven or 10 years.

Clearly, there's a lot to like about buying a house. For those who want to enter the housing market today, it certainly helps to work with an experienced real estate agent as well.

A real estate agent allows you to take the guesswork out of pursuing a residence in any housing market, at any time. In fact, this housing market professional will ensure you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

In most instances, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new houses as they become available, teach you about the ins and outs of shopping for a residence and set up home showings. Furthermore, a real estate agent will negotiate with home sellers on your behalf, guaranteeing that you can get the best price on any house.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to respond to any homebuying concerns or queries. This means you can get the expert insights that you need to make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Take the next step to pursue your dream residence Ė employ an experienced real estate agent, and you should have no trouble transforming your homeownership dream into a reality.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by James Conforti and Domingo Medina on 1/18/2018

If youíre on the hunt for a home, youíre undoubtedly excited. You might be eager to ask a lot of questions and get all the information that you can. Youíre also probably eager to share quite a bit of information about yourself and your home purchase. While this is a great approach, this isnít the case for everyone youíre involved with in your real estate transaction. When youíre dealing with the sellerís agent, more information isnít always better. You donít need to share as much information with them as you may think you do. Your agent as a buyer is your advocate. They do know a lot of information about you, and they should. Your buyerís agent knows everything from your budget to your needs and wants. The sellerís agent doesnít need to know any of this! This is why you hire a buyerís agent in the first place. Hereís what you shouldnít divulge to a sellerís agent and why:


Your Opinion Of The House


Youíll want to be as neutral as possible when it comes to how much you like or dislike a house. While itís perfectly fine to let the agent know that you feel at home in the space and are interested in putting in an offer, you don't need to get into too many details. 


On the flip side, if you have a few things that you donít like about a house, you should keep those to yourself. You donít want to decide to put an offer in on the home, only to be seen as a less than serious buyer. In hot markets, you should always give yourself the upper hand. 


Your Budget


You should never let a sellerís agent know how much youíre looking to spend on a home. If sellers know how high or how low youíre willing to go on a home purchase, both the buyer and the seller should get a fair price for the home. Your goal as a buyer is to have your offer accepted at the best possible price. 


Let Your Agent Do His Job


While it can be hard in the midst of excitement, you should really let your agent do most of the talking when it comes to a home purchase. Your agent can help you through everything from negotiations to working with your lender to navigating you through open houses. Your agent may even be able to attend quite a few open houses right along with you. This way, youíll have someone else to do the talking for you. Just remember the tips above in case youíre flying solo through some home tours. While itís great to be eager on your home search, itís never to your benefit to be overzealous.





Posted by James Conforti and Domingo Medina on 12/21/2017

When you budget to buy a home, you sit down, do the math, and try to estimate what all of your monthly costs will be. There are so many monthly costs that come with being a homeowner that can make the whole process complicated. Sure, you have taken the standard costs into account like home insurance, property taxes, and even utilities. But there are a few out-of-the-box costs that youíll need to consider for your house hunt.


Flood Or Other Natural Disaster Insurance


Natural disasters are costly and devastating. Many homeowners who live in areas that are affected by natural disasters like floods and earthquakes often opt for additional coverage for their homes. Premiums for earthquake and flood insurance often end up being very high. As a natural disaster strikes, these premiums can go up even more. If you live in one of the high-risk areas for natural disasters, youíll want to check with your insurance agent ahead of time to plan for the additional costs that these special kinds of insurance will incur.


Water Costs During A Drought


There are many areas across the US that suffer drought conditions from time to time. Your water bill can skyrocket during these times. Itís best to continue conserving water and watch your bill closely in order to try and save some costs. Thereís not a whole lot you can do otherwise to control your bill. Youíll need to stay prepared with some extra cash on hand in case of these emergencies and know that costs can rise due to different environmental conditions.  


Tax Hikes And Special Assessments 


As a homeowner, youíll need to prepare for different kinds of assessments and tax increases. If your condominium complex needs significant repairs then youíll probably end up paying an assessment to help offset the costs. This is what comes with belonging to a homeownerís association. 


You canít prevent that the town is building a brand new school that requires a tax increase, nor can you prevent roof damage on one of the buildings in your complex. Financially, this is a hidden cost of homeownership that you should be prepared for. 


Unexpected Maintenance Costs And Home Furnishings


Once you move into a home, youíll need to prepare for the unexpected. The dishwasher may need to be replaced. The roof may need repair. The walls may need some paint. 


When you buy a home you may also need a bunch of things to furnish the home. These could include dishes, pots and pans, sofas, beds, and more. You donít want to leave your new home completely empty! You also donít want to be without vital appliances like an oven or a sink for too long if they are outdated or in disrepair. This is why itís a good idea to have extra money on hand to deal with any of these costs.


The best rule of thumb to follow when buying a home is to always be prepared with a but of extra cash on hand to avoid major issues down the road.           








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